What is the Montignac Diet: applying food choices based on the glycemic index of foods





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    Marty McFly
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    The Montignac diet, named after its creator – Michel Montignac – is a food philosophy that seems to impose few restrictions. It is not, in fact, a “low-calorie” diet, but a dietary style that tries to adapt to all cultures, applying food choices based on the glycemic index of foods, in order to control body weight.

    Diet MontignacThe objectives of the Montignac method are:
    lasting reduction in body weight,
    reduction of cardio-vascular risk factors
    diabetes prevention. Michel
    Montignac defines his method as “the only perfectly balanced diet”: slimming without eating less, but certainly better!

    History

    The Montignac method seems to have a long history; since the 1980s, its founder has been carrying out studies and in-depth studies on the glycemic balance of food.
    Michel Montignac is a world-famous nutritionist and author of numerous texts translated into different languages and marketed in many countries; he has sold more than 18 million copies in Europe.

    How it works

    Michel Montignac makes the fight against hyperinsulinism his workhorse; he tries to prove that it is not the calorie amount that significantly affects weight control, but an organic hormonal dysfunction. According to this principle, two foods containing carbohydrates in similar amounts with different blood sugar indices can contribute (with equal energy) to body weight gain or reduction.
    By analyzing the theories of the “pioneer” of the blood sugar index, the message comes loud and clear:
    Insulin makes fatten!
    Well, in order to avoid misunderstandings and the spread of misunderstood concepts, I will be more attentive to examine more objectively the functioning of insulin and the influence of diet on its release.

    Insulin

    Insulin is a hormone that has an anabolic function, i. e. it promotes deposit and synthesis; it is involved in restoring glycogen reserves and fat reserves, promotes muscle protein synthesis and simultaneously inhibits catabolism (consumption) of all three substrates/tissues. Leaving aside (but not omitting) the importance of this hormonal mediator for energy recovery, for the entry of glucose into insulin-dependent cells, and therefore for LIFE, I believe it is essential to point out that although insulin has storage functions, its release is limited to the post-prandial time and in physiological conditions its blood presence is reduced proportionally to blood glucose. In the absence of DISMETABLE PATOLOGY, the insulin response is absolutely weighted to the index and glycemic load of the meal.

    Index and glycemic load

    Although Montignac was the first specialist to focus on the choice of low glycemic index foods, readers should not be shirked by the popular emphasis that promotes the method. The glycemic index certainly influences insulin release, but it is a requirement that makes 2 other similarly priority concepts (not present in the Montignac guidelines) subordinate:
    The glycemic LOAD, i. e. the QUANTITY of carbohydrates introduced, which in dietetic practice corresponds to the food PORTION of: cereals and derivatives, potatoes, fruits, etc.
    The percentage of SIMPLICAL carbohydrates introduced through “processed” foods which, due to their “carbohydrate refinement” (in addition to increasing the risk of dental caries) are characterized by a very high absorption and metabolisation rate of carbohydrates. The recommended proportion of simple carbohydrates should be around 12% of total calories.
    In glycemic terms:
    Respecting the consumption of adequate portions of food in line with the dietary needs of the consumer
    Be careful not to unduly distort the complex carbohydrate-simple glucides ratio (8:1)
    The evaluation of the individual glycemic indices plays a much less important role; the key to a correct diet is equally represented by the choice of food and portion management.

    Scientific studies

    Having said that, among the bibliographic sources of the Montignac diet, it is possible to find a scientific study by the scientist B. Jeanrenaud; the experimental describes the correlation between hyperinsulinism and obesity, defining them directly proportional.
    The publication is a practical confirmation of this theoretical concept by artificially reproducing hyperinsulinism in the animal and obtaining, with the same calorie balance, an increase in weight in subjects with the greatest exogenous administration.

    First of all, the experimental focuses on the effect of pharmacological hyperinsulinism, therefore not FISIOLOGICAL, in relation to the increase of body weight. Being an anabolic hormone, it is clear that, with the same calorie balance, those who have PATOLOGICAL insulin levels suffer the relative effects of fattening; it is a pity that (excluding hereditary dysmetabolisms) hyperinsulinism is NOT a physiological condition! Hyperproduction of this hormone is caused by hyperglycemia induced by the REDUCTION OF PERIFERIC receptor SENSITIVITY, typical of overweight or obese subjects.
    It is not the FISIOLOGICAL insulin that generates obesity… but obesity (induced by a INCORRECT diet) reduces insulin sensitivity by causing HyperP RODUCTION CHRONIC Hyperglycemia associated with hyperinsulinism… but it is a possibility easily avoidable management
    Criticism

    Ultimately, it is not correct to demonise insulin by attributing it the role of fattening hormone, because at physiological levels, insulin has no side-effect; furthermore, under physiological conditions, and by ensuring adequate portions, foods with a high glycemic index do not significantly affect hyperinsulinism and adipose deposition.
    According to the Montignac method, consuming only carbohydrates with a glycemic index lower than or equal to 35, the insulin response is  LOW to enable the activation of the slimming enzyme, triglyceride lipase, and thus trigger weight loss.
    This positive effect on the metabolism is also subordinated to the alimentary portions; even if it has a low glycemic index, a lentil dish does not generate the same insulin response as 2 lentil plates! Moreover, it is also agreed that by favouring the activation of the triglyceride lipase, it is possible to optimize the reduction of adipose reserves, but if the enzyme is already physiologically active, it certainly cannot increase in a perpetual way.
    It is possible to affirm that the Montignac diet could prove to be an effective method in the treatment of dysfunctions such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, in which it is essential to reduce as much as possible the Hyperglycemia CRONICA but without adopting a low-carb diet.
    On the contrary, in healthy subjects, totally excluding foods with a high glycemic index, replacing them with foods with others with a low glycemic index, PRESENTING FROM CONSUMPTION PORTIONS, could be an unjustified limitation at least.

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